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South Korea unveils energy transition plan: 3x increase in wind, solar to 72 GW by 2038

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South Korea has announced plans to more than triple renewable energy generation as part of national energy transition plan that will see the country generate majority of its electricity from carbon-free energy sources by 2038. 

Renewable sources such as wind and solar, coupled with nuclear power, will account for 70 percent of power generation by 2038, up from less than 40 percent in 2023, according to the country's draft blueprint. The country will more than triple its solar and wind power output to 72 GW by 2030 from 23 GW in 2022, while sticking to its plan to add four nuclear plants by 2038, taking the total number to 30. 

The plan, which is pending government approval and finalization, forecasts power generation capacity of 157.8 GW in 2038 from 134.5 GW in 2022. In a statement, the industry ministry said South Korea's energy consumption was expected to increase because of expansion in data centers and large chip-production bases, which would help it meet demand from artificial intelligence. 

South Korea also plans to replace 12 coal-fired power plants that will become 30 years old in 2037 and 2038 with carbon-free power sources such as pumped-storage hydroelectricity and hydrogen power generation. Other coal power plants will be transitioned to run on liquefied natural gas as fuel. 

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